A ganglion is a non-cancerous fluid-filled lump which can occur near joints or tendons. It is most commonly found on the wrist or hands. The cyst can range from the size of a pea to the size of a golf ball. Ganglions can occur alongside any joint in the body, but are most common on the wrist (particularly the back of the wrist), and the hand and fingers.
Ganglions are harmless, but can sometimes be painful. If they do not cause any pain or discomfort, they can be left alone and may disappear without treatment, although this can take a number of years.
The two main treatment options for a ganglion cyst are:
Draining fluid out of the cyst with a needle and syringe – the medical term for this is aspiration
Cutting the cyst out using surgery
Proposed revisions to the eligibility criteria
We make the following recommendation regarding surgical treatment of ganglia - Ganglia are regarded as a procedure of low clinical value and are therefore Not Routinely Funded by the Commissioner. Funding for patients will only be granted in clinically exceptional circumstances via an Individual Funding Request.
Asymptomatic ganglions are Not Routinely Funded and should be managed in primary care and not normally be referred to secondary care.
Symptomatic ganglia treatment is categorised as Not Routinely Funded and will be funded only in exceptional circumstances. The Royal College of Surgeons advises that if the Ganglion is not causing any difficulties, surgical intervention is not required. Normally Ganglion will often disappear on its own after a year or two.
Further information and guidance
British Society for Surgery of the Hand - Ganglion Cyst Leaflet 2016 - Where patient has severe pain/infection in accordance with the BSSH protocol for Wrist Ganglia (2011)